Best New Rock – JW Farrel, Rival Karma, Shae Brock, The Heavy North

NYC rocker JW Farrell just released his new album, Far From It.  The versatile collection of songs showcases JW’s extensive palette as a songwriter, with interesting lyrics and thoughtful arrangements in abundance throughout.  The calculated variations are highlighted repeatedly by what is clearly a fantastic rock band.  Assembled by JW himself, the band is tight.  Every performance is ripe with collective jubilation.  They sound like they absolutely love playing together, and they captured that feeling on their record.  Earning a reputation for a fantastic live show,  they made a point to present it aggressively throughout the LP, and most notably on their single Shickadance.  The in your face rocker comes at you hard.  At times the band pulls back just a little, flaunting the dynamic ability of the players, before dropping in repeatedly with new phrases, solos, and riffs.  

  JW Farrell is heavily influence by Queens of The Stone Age and The Foo Fighters.  He can capture the raw scream of Dave Grohl, but also settle into a groovy Lou Reed style croon, a homage to the years he’s spent in NYC.  The guitarists provide raw, tube heavy tones reminiscent of early Pearl Jam.  The drummer would make a good fill in for Taylor Hawkins. JW’s swagger and garage rocker roots tailors to the ferocity of the players.  On Shickadance, everyone sounds pretty fed up and ready to blow off some steam.  Living with the superficiality that has consumed the big apple, the group provides a much needed rock and roll revival.  

 Face melting riffs and progressive arrangements are on display throughout, enjoy Shickadance now on our Best New Rock playlist. 

Rival Karma

Rival Karma delivers again with a prophetic new single Jesus is From Chico.  The song details the pros and cons of touring life, as well as a very real take on choosing music as a career.  The jam is set to be included on the bands forthcoming EP Powerduism, and like their prior releases, honors their tradition of intoxicating riffage and pumping beats.  Complete with catchy vocals and interesting songwriting, Rival Karma is primed for rock and roll glory.  Fans of the Black Keys and Hives will dig their retro rock grooves and bluesy guitar licks.  The deep fuzz recalls cult favorites like Purling Hiss and moments from Jack White’s tonal repertoire.  It’s the mid song drum solo that really connects this track to its classic roots, evoking the likes of John Bonham and Keith Moon with thunderous conviction.  

  Its’ a great studio effort, it does what it’s meant to do; inspire you to go see them live  Considering the song serves as a reflection of their life in music, the rocking outro reveals just as much about their experience as the lyrics do.  They need to rock every show as hard as possible, fighting to keep their rock and roll dream alive with every performance.  Rival Karma is coming to rip your face off and their aware that they’re giving up a few days of existence as a sacrifice for their high energy shows.  Though they’re quick to admit “Jesus from Chico” is directly derived from a fan that helped them on the road, the song’s title suggests that they’re fully aware that their rock and roll mission comes at a steep price.  They’re delivering the message of rock, but they’re gonna pay for your sins.  ‘You don’t know every show, a piece of my all, Never makes it home, I’m bare to the bone”

  The dream is unforgiving, it will chew you up and spit you out in ways that you could have never imagined.  Rival Karma is taking the long road, paying their dues playing live and earning every single fan along the way.  It’s refreshing to see a true rock story in the making.  Hear Jesus is From Chico now on our Best New Rock playlist.

Shae Brock

Psychedelic dream rocker Shae Brock released a new EP, Was It Real Or In My Mind.  The strong collection of songs is full of trippy imagery and cinematic appeal.  Space age guitars and ethereal vocals lift Shae’s strong vocal prowess.  On her single Cosmic, her ability as a writer and performer are on full display.  A shimmery lead guitar, armed with perfectly executed chorus reverb and distortion, emotionally mirrors Shae’s passionate vocal cues.  The first half of the song is an eloquent blues psych motif with early 90s influence breaking through.  As if Blind Melon was produced by Pink Floyd.  When the drums drop, introducing the second half of the song, Shae’s remarkable piercing vocal abilities are on full display.   This is when she takes your breath away.  

  The vibe that ensues resembles the dreamy parts of Kings Of Leon’s catalog, when they angered their original fans by embellishing their music with effects and reverb.  Shae captures the bluesy psych vibes perfectly, and a hint of Southern Rock lurks beneath the surface.  The guitarist jams out, but it is tasteful and doesn’t feel overdone.  It leave room for her vocals to cut through, and Shae lends her soaring alto to the atmosphere underneath.  

  “Maybe it’s cosmic,” Shae asks, as she leads you on a cinematic trip.  Her music releases you, with dreamy vibes and her womanly touch.  Her vocals convey strength and she sings with an unfiltered conviction that relaxes and releases you.  The performance warms you like a psychedelic protector who sits with you through the heaviest moments in your trip.  

  Hear Cosmic now on our Best New Rock playlist. 

The Heavy North

Liverpool rockers The Heavy North have plans to release a full length album, Electric Soul Machine, and have been dripping out singles leading up to the full release.  Awake is their latest release to promote the upcoming album.  The band identifies as bluesy garage rockers, and their music is rich in classic rock influence.  Evoking the more rocking moments from CSNY and The Guess Who, with the raw energy of The James Gang and other power blues elites.  Awake has retro swagger.  The classic organ cuts through like a time stamp set to Haight Asbury, setting this music in a specific period of popular history, when rock was still purely a blues derivative meant to propel the evolution of the electric guitar.  The kind of groovy blues rock that brought hippies and bikers together, where black leather met bandanas and bell bottoms, and truces were dealt in waves of aromatic smoke.  

  Incensed in rock fever, this is the original devil music they spoke of, sent from hell to taint a young generation deprived of sex and indulgence, ready to rise against their traditions, and eager to write their own cultures into the script of their nation.  The Heavy North provides a fantastic throwback still rich in originality,  bringing a version of retro rock that is not typically well executed or exemplified among other modern indie rockers influenced by classic rock.  This is the San Francisco raw blues rock sound that hides underneath our cultural fabric, covered by decades of catchy singles the radio can’t see beyond.  Electric Soul Machine is a fitting title for The Heavy North’s highly anticipated LP.  It tells you a lot about what this sound represented and the empowerment it provided to a generation.  Rock gave hope that a message could reach beyond the grasp of faulty traditions and a history of violence and oppression, with music serving as a light for a new way.  

  Rock’s downfall was when fame reared his nasty head and spread vanity like a cancer among the musical messengers.  The message might be compromised, but the music lives on.  Long live Rock and Roll. 

  Hear Awake now on our Best New Rock playlist.


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